‘He smoked a couple of cigs at HT’

English Premier League

Former Portsmouth midfielder Gary O’Neil said despite former Real Madrid and FC Barcelona midfielder Robert Prosinecki's chain-smoking, he nearly helped the club stay in the Championship.

With smoking generally frowned upon in football due to health reasons and with all Premier League and EFL grounds having banned smoking, Prosinecki didn’t seem to heed to the rule.

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And in an interview with TalkSport, O'Neil recalls how talented the Croatian playmaker was despite his constant craving for nicotine.

"He would smoke through a good couple of cigarettes every single half-time," O'Neil explained.

"When you walked in the dressing room at half-time there was always someone in the toilet cubicle and you could just see smoke coming out the top of the door.

"And then he went to the kit room with the kit man to have a fag [cigarette]. Smoking is bad and it’s definitely not good if you want to be a footballer, but Prosinecki was unbelievable."

The Croatian maestro was pivotal to Red Star Belgrade’s UEFA Champions League triumph over Marseille in 1991 that propelled him to play for both LaLiga giants during his career.

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